my day at the newport beach fest

so i went down to the newport beach film festival on 4/21.

i got there at 10am to see a panel of screenwriting. there were 5 writers there, including Steve Oedekerk who wrote Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty, and Jeff Arch who wrote Sleepless In Seattle. during the q+a, someone asked how a total beginner should get started. jeff said you collect a bunch of ideas but at some point you have to structure it, and he said it helps to think of a movie as twelve 10 minute movies. steve said what he does is first he just writes down all the parts of the story he likes, the fun stuff that got him excited to write the movie in the first place. and then later, he’ll structure things out.

i went to a short film screening called Life Is Short. two of the directors were there for a q+a, for the films Morning Fall and The Knife Grinder’s Tale. someone asked them how much their films cost. if i remember correctly, the Morning Fall cost about $25,000 – $30,000. The Knife Grinder’s Tale was shot in kenya, and he said it cost $25,000 just to get out of the country. good lord that’s a lot of money for a short! i asked them how important film school was for them. they both said that it gave them the chance to learn the visual grammer of filmmaking. the director of Morning Fall said you can either go to film school to make mistakes and learn, or you can go ahead and make a feature to make mistakes and learn.

my screening was that night, in the program Furiously Funny Shorts. the show was sold out which was exciting. after seeing all the great shorts in the program, i feel really lucky that i even got in. i was impressed with everyone’s work and it was fun to be able to watch short films on the big screen instead of streaming off of the internet on my computer like i usually do. hearing the audience reaction was so valuable because for comedy, it’s very easy to tell if it’s successful; either people laugh or they don’t. for mine, people didn’t laugh as much as i would have liked, but mine was action/comedy, not straight comedy, so i hope they were still entertained.

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